Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Who Needs History?

I received the following on one of the departmental listservs. Of course, we can't possibly be both a Top 30 Research School and actually educate the undergrads. It was very, very silly of me to think that this was the case, and I am duly chastened.


TO: Deans, Department Heads, and University Centers Directors

FROM: David R. Ford

DATE: June 24, 2003

RE: U.S. History Requirement Moratorium

Effectively immediately there will be a moratorium on the U.S. History requirement. This administrative decision by the University Provost is a result of resource priorities. Students with a start date of Fall 2001 through Fall 2008 will not be required to fulfill the published graduation requirements for U.S. History. In 2007, the University will revisit this requirement to determine if there are sufficient resources available to lift the moratorium."

That's right, 2007. We're cutting away so much of the liberal arts departments that we can't even teach American history any more. I'm well aware that we're dealing with budget cuts, but this strikes me as absurd and as an outrage. If you can't manage to deliver a proper education, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate your spending priorities. Maybe a few new buildings could go without Hokie Stone facades for a while, as they seem to be awfully expensive for what they are (the facade for the South Endzone expansion cost one million dollars for the Hokie Stone alone). I'm well aware that some money is slated for buildings, some for athletics, some for dorms, etc., but again, you save money while providing a quality product not by cutting important programs, but by cutting the fat (and certainly not by suspending requirement of core classes). I'm glad that I've only got one more year at Tech; there may not even be a liberal arts department by the time I come back for reunions.

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